Friday, March 03, 2023

Automotif CCCXLVII...

Photographed with a Nikon D2X & 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II

Here's a sinister-looking murdered-out 1980 or '81 Chevrolet Camaro Z28.

The factory motor would have been a 350cid LM1 V8, rated at 185bhp in 1980. The '81 model year introduced new emissions controls that dropped the horsepower rating to 175.

1981-1983 was probably the absolute low point of automotive performance in the US. The lardy 175-horse 3500-lb boulevardier 1981 Z28 would have squared off against its rival from Dearborn, the Mustang. For the '81 Model year, the top version of the Mustang was the Cobra, with lots of decals and aero doodads.

The Cobra was 900 pounds lighter than the Z28, since the latter was riding on an eleven-year-old platform* that had been designed when Sunoco high test was 35 cents a gallon and CAFE regs were half a decade in the future, while the Mustang was on its third model year of the then-new Fox body. However the top performance motor for the Mustang was the anemic 255cid V8 that sipped gas through a dinky Motorcraft 2bbl carb and only spit out 120 horsepower.

Basically even though the Camaro had been reduced to a plush-bottomed shell of its former wild-eyed glory, it'd still maul the dismally-underpowered Mustang. Those tables wouldn't turn again until Ford stuffed a Holley 4bbl 5.0 under the hood in '83.

Considering that they sold a blue million 2nd Generation Camaros over the eleven-year run of the body style, you don't see a ton of them on the street. I'd wager that rust got a bunch and telephone poles got a bunch more.

*This resulted in an odd situation on Chevy lots in the late-'70s/early-'80s in that the Chevy Malibu, their bread-and-butter midsize sedan, and the Monte Carlo "personal luxury coupe" had already gone through a round of downsizing and thus had the same length wheelbase and were actually a couple hundred pounds lighter than the "sporty 2+2" Camaro.